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Greek and US Coast Guards sign major cooperation agreement

The Greek Coast Guard and the US Coast Guard signed on Tuesday a memorandum of cooperation strengthening the collaboration and the promotion of their common priorities

The memorandum was signed in the presence of Shipping and Island Policy Minister Giannis Plakiotakis and US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt.

“The signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the US Coast Guard and the Greek Coast Guard is an important step towards even closer cooperation, which has long been the pursuit of both,” Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Giannis Plakiotakis said.

“Greece is a pillar of stability and the cooperation of the two coastguards will contribute to the stability and safety of navigation in the Mediterranean region,” said Pyatt.

He added that this is a milestone agreement between the two sides that will strengthen the bilateral exercises of the Greek and US Coast Guard personnel.

Following are the full remarks by the US Ambassador to Greece Mr Geoffrey Pyatt as delivered at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy on 14 December 2021:

Kalimera. Let me start by saying what a pleasure it is to be back down here at Piraeus.

Before our meeting this morning, I took advantage of being out on the balcony of the Minister’s office to point out to Admiral Poulin some of the sights that you can see just from this building. The Hellas Liberty, a living museum and a symbol of the exceptionally strong ties between our maritime and ship-owning communities, and the special history that the United States had with the revival of Greek shipping after the Second World War. But also, in this year of the Greek Bicentennial, to point out the islands of Aegina and Hydra, which we could see clearly this morning before the storms rolled in, a reminder of the special role that those islands played in the Greek War of Independence, and the unique ties between our democracies and our revolutions 200 and 240 years ago.

It’s a great pleasure to be here with Minister Plakiotakis and Vice Admiral Kliaris, and to welcome another true milestone in relations between the U.S. and Hellenic Coast Guards with the signing of today’s Memorandum of Understanding.

I want to thank Vice Admiral Poulin for making a special trip to Greece for this occasion, and to all of our partners at the United States Coast Guard who are committed to deepening and strengthening our defense relationship with Greece, which in so many ways is one of our strongest in all of Europe, particularly so in the maritime domain.

I also want to say a special thank you to the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Schultz and Director Castiglione-Cataldo who were both instrumental in making today’s MOU signing possible.

Just before Easter, I had the opportunity of welcoming the U.S. Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters ROBERT GOLDMAN and CHARLES MOULTHROPE, right in front of us here at the port of Piraeus, with Minister Plakiotakis and Vice Admiral Kliaris. The transatlantic voyage of these two new cutters and their visit to Greece emphasized our commitment to our NATO Alliance, demonstrating how we are strengthening national security and maritime security by extending the global reach of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Here in the Mediterranean, our combined exercises with the Hellenic Coast Guard and the U.S. Sixth Fleet highlight our commitment to interservice integration to build stability across maritime routes in this strategically important region.

We saw that two weeks ago down at Revithousa with the exercises of the U.S. and Hellenic Special Forces units, including the Coast Guard in a maritime boarding scenario. And the week before last, I was at the port of Alexandroupoli to commemorate the arrival there of the 1st Aviation Cavalry Brigade to Greece from Fort Hood, Texas. I was very glad I had the opportunity there to thank the Hellenic Coast Guard and MYA elements who had provided security support while our forces were there in the port of Alexandroupoli.

Today’s Memorandum of Understanding will help our countries’ Coast Guards further accelerate the building tempo of engagements, ship visits and training between our forces.

The six pillars outlined in this Memorandum – maritime safety, operations, information sharing, fishery inspections, environment protection, and training – align perfectly with the U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue.

And I want to emphasize one thing that has become very clear to me over the years that I have served as the U.S. Ambassador, which is the degree to which the deepening of cooperation between our countries is good not only good for us in the United States, and for Greece, but it’s also good for the wider region, and certainly for our NATO Alliance.

The cooperation between our two countries helps to reinforce the credibility and capabilities of our Alliance in a neighborhood that is not always friendly, and in a region where Greece has come to be seen by all as a pillar of stability, a reliable NATO Ally, a net provider of security, and a country which is part of the solution to building the kind of stable, democratic region that our citizens want and deserve.

Minister, I want to conclude by thanking you and thanking all of your team who have worked with us to accomplish this milestone today. I very much look forward to seeing the results in the months and years ahead of our even greater cooperation.


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